Well, this was bound to happen sooner or later. With production underway on “Raging Bull II,” MGM has pulled out the big guns, suing to not only halt the production of the movie, but also be awarded punitive damages “in an amount sufficient to punish the RB II defendants and to deter those who would commit or knowingly seek to profit from similar actions, now or in the future.” Ouch. But let’s rewind on this a bit first.
Based on the book of the same name by Jake LaMotta, Chris Anderson and Sharon McGehee, which examines both the early life and the events after those told in the Martin Scorsese picture, the film is being directed by Argentine-born helmer Martin Guigui, whose credits include “National Lampoon’s Cattle Call” and most recently, the Dennis Quaid thriller “Beneath the Darkness.” Scorsese, he is not. The film has veteran character actor William Forsythe taking over the lead role with a grab bag cast including Joe Mantegna, Natasha Henstridge, Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore and Cloris Leachman all on board. The movie went ahead because the producers seemingly got the rights to Jake LaMotta’s sequel book, “Raging Bull II: Continuing the Story of Jake LaMotta,” but not so fast says MGM.
According to the studio, MGM had the right of first refusal for any sequels and LaMotta was not authorized to sell the rights unless he went to them first, which he didn’t. Moreover, they also claim that “Raging Bull II” is trying to boost its profile by associating it with the more prestigious “Raging Bull,” which is, well, DUH and also claim that the sequel could tarnish the original. No response yet from the folks behind the unofficial sequel, but with MGM requesting a trial, they will have to lawyer up pretty fast. If those producers do lose the case, it will be a pretty big financial hit, but as we asked before, did anyone really want this in the first place? [Deadline]